KAMLOOPS — It may seem early to hear bells ringing outside store fronts in Kamloops, but the Salvation Army's Kettle campaign is underway.
Volunteers have been out in the community since Wednesday, hoping people contribute to an important cause as the Salvation Army helps people this holiday season.
WATCH: Full report by Chad Klassen
Ray Phillips is a volunteer at one of the kettles in Kamloops, someone who loves people and loves helping the community.
"We realize there's lot of people, not only in this city but all over B.C. and Canada, that are in need of help and aren't able to look after themselves, so it's a good feeling knowing the money we collect helps out in many, many ways," says Phillips.
Phillips is a retired Burnaby firefighter and has always taken pleasure in helping people. A volunteer at heart, he's worked many events during his 13 years in Kamloops, including the Brier and Women's World Hockey Championships.
"Mainly I'm a people person, and I just love to talk to people," notes Phillips. "As you maybe can tell, I'm quite the A-personality. It gives you a good feeling. I was a firefighter, so in that aspect we learned how to help people for 30 years and this is the same fit. We're helping out in any way we can to give back."
The Salvation Army's Kettle campaign is the heart of the organization — a campaign that brings in about half of its financial need for the year.
Last year, the kettle campaign raised $168,000 in Kamloops, money that stays local to fund the hot-meal program that runs three times a week throughout the year. It also pays for Christmas hampers provided to families in need..
But people have other struggles during the holiday season.
"People have dental needs. They might need, at this time of the year when it gets cold, some people fall into having no heat, for example," says Captain Paul Trickett from the Kamloops Salvation Army. "We'll help them with getting heat. Our elderly have a lot of issues with heat and medication. All kinds of things. Basically when people fall short, they come to us."
The goal this year is to raise $200,000 to be able to help that many more people. They're also looking for more volunteers to man the kettles.
"Volunteerism is extremely important. We don't pay anyone to stand at these kettles. All these people are volunteers. We especially need hearty people that can stand outside in the cold," says Trickett.
Phillips doesn't mind the cold at all. The response he gets from people warms his heart.
"They're very generous in Kamloops. You get small coins to 20 dollar bills, and hugs, and the odd person will offer you a coffee. So they're just really appreciative and they give that heartwarming 'thank you' for spending time to volunteer, so they can benefit from some of the money that's raised."
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